Apr 17, 2010

I Startin' with the (Wo)man in the Mirror

I have spent most all of my life on the "chubby side". My first memories of being made fun of for my weight start in 3rd grade. My first memories of feeling uncomfortable with my weight start before I can really remember. I found an old diary of mine from 1st grade a while back and sat crying while I read it and looked at the drawings I had made of what I thought my body looked like. How can such a young girl have such hatred for her body? Where did this come from in me? I have no idea...I really don't. It seems as though I have spent the last 27 years fighting this demon within me that I have not been able to prevail over. I can HONESTLY say that for as long as I can remember, my poor body image has consumed my mind most of the day. Any new situation that I walked into was fraught with feelings of anxiety about my looks, my body, my make up, my hair, my choice of clothing, but mostly my body. As sick as it sounds, I always tried to find someone in "worse" than me, and if I couldn't do that, then I would try harder to be the loudest, the funniest, the one with the craziest hair, or the most make-up. This is a vicious cycle that has haunted me my entire life.

I think this had a lot to do with my decision to become a hair stylist. It is easy for me to make other people feel beautiful...I don't want this to sound braggy, but it comes easy to me, I have always been good at making others look and feel amazing. I love that part of my life. I love helping other people feel good. It seems ironic that I would have a natural talent in making others look good, but I have always struggled with what I see in the mirror. It is a joke with some of my clients that I have learned how to stand in front of a mirror all day and not see myself in it. I have become a master at avoiding my reflection.

Here is my dilemma...that girl is being forced out of the building...I am evicting her...she is literally melting away...and...I am not sure that I know how to be anyone else. I struggle with becoming the kind of person that I always felt I had to hate. I don't know how to be a truly confident has always been a show...a facade...a fraud. Several times this week my mind jumped into its old habits and I caught myself adjusting my shirt, and checking out the room, and making sure my reflection was sucking in...only to realize, I don't need to do those things ANYMORE. I am no longer that person. I HAVE LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT. I have earned every ounce and I should be proud of it. My husband and I had a little staycation right here in Boise and for the first time in a long time, I felt proud of my body, and the feelings of being stared at and the feelings of insecurity weren't there...but it felt weird...I realize now that I have a lot of things to re-learn.
1) I can no longer tell my reflection how much I hate it. NO MORE.
2) Learn to take a more deflecting or self trashing
3) Enjoy the spoils, learn to love my new body and my new lifestyle
4) See what other people see...and accept myself
5) Enjoy where I am at and what I am doing...get my mind in the game and focus on the people I am with. Clear my mind of self centered body image issues.
6) I have to stop hating other woman who are thin, or who look better after babies than before, or leave the hospital in their skinny jeans.

This all seems so daunting. I found myself wondering the other night if I would ever be able to do it. Will April Johnson ever love herself? Will I ever feel like the person other people think I am? As my mind went over these thoughts, I noticed my heart racing...kind of like it is racing right now. I truly don't know if 27 years of feelings and fears and anxieties can be undone.

I felt the need to write this...whether people read it or not, I don't care. It has been cathartic for me, and hopefully, someone who reads this can relate...and feel less alone. I know that with a lot of practice, prayer and support, I can become the person I am meant to be. Along with all of my worries, I have found liberation. I now have the freedom to become someone better, someone happier, someone more connected. My family and my friends will move up on my priority list, I will become a better listener...I will live in the moment. Look out world...I am about to arrive!


  1. Love you April! That was very well put. It’s obvious that you’ve coming a long way on AND off the scale.

    I hope you have felt that you don’t have to make these changes on sheer will-power alone. When my temporal weaknesses are made horribly apparent to me, I've learned that the atonement applies to those too. Especially self-image challenges for women--- there is nothing Satan enjoys more than undermining a powerful woman’s vision of her own potential. We become more capable of serving and building the Kingdom when we overcome the weaknesses and mistaken beliefs that hold us down or create enmity between ourselves and other women. Overcoming self-image issues is exactly what He wants to help us do!

    I’m sure you’re approaching all of this with the Lord’s help and support (that discussion is not exactly normal subject matter for a weight-goal blog). I just wanted to offer my support in the best way that I can think of!

    Thanks again for sharing everything that you’ve learned and are still learning!

  2. April you are beautiful! Thanks for sharing all of this. You are very inspiring.

  3. April I LOVE you!!! I have a poor self image . . . I hate it! And you are inspiring!!

  4. Good for you! I am so proud of you April! And I am excited to be around the fully present April. I always thought we got along so well, but then again,I always wondered what you thought after I left. I thought to myself, "Was she being real? Was she just putting on the fun-loving facade so I would enjoy her company?" I want to know you! Not who you think I want to know. Or who you think I think you are. I can't tell you how wonderful I feel for you. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship/sister-ship! :)Keep up the good look A-maaazing! (sing-songy voice)